What a great month-or-so for Ryan Kesler. First, he warms the hearts of many American hockey fans with his great play (and amazing empty net goal) for USA hockey in the Olympics. Then he lands the cover role for the Wii-exclusive hockey game NHL 2K11. He’s been one of the ten best skaters in the league since the trade deadline.
And now he’s rich.
The two-way center signed a six-year extension with the Vancouver Canucks today, according to The Globe and Mail. TSN’s Bob McKenzie reports that the six year deal will be worth about $5 million per year, making the deal in the neighborhood of $30 million.
Looking at Vancouver’s long-term salary cap situation, I would say that the Canucks have done a solid job wrapping up core players at reasonable rates (at least since GM Mike Gillis took over). The Sedins have twin contracts that will mean a combined cap hit of $12.2 million per year, Mikael Samuelsson could turn out to be a steal at $2.5 and Alex Burrows is definitely a steal at $2 million.
Naturally, like any team, they have a few worries. A lot rests on Roberto Luongo staying healthy during his Rick Dipietro-style contract and I’m not sure spending $10 million on injury prone defensemen Alex Edler, Sami Salo and Kevin Bieksa is particularly prudent.
Still, overall, the Canucks have a great core of hard working players without a true albatross contract and no one crucial to re-sign. Most NHL teams would kill to be in that situation – and to have players like Ryan Kesler.